Learning Moments - Quebec Work Experience for Federal PR Application
This article by Andrew Carvajal is part of the Immigration Education Alliance (IMEDA) weekly column titled "Learning Moments".
Hello fellow practitioners. Today’s column deals with the eligibility of Quebec work experience under federal economic applications for permanent residence.
I have one question regarding Express Entry and applications under CEC and FSW.
A potential client graduated from a Quebec university and then worked in Quebec for almost 3 years. He received a refusal letter from IRCC in his application for Express Entry – Canadian Experience Class – because of not having an intention to reside in a province other than the province of Quebec. His post-graduate work permit expired and he returned to his home country.
Question 1: Can he apply again under the CEC? If yes, how can he meet the criteria of no intention to reside in the province other than the province of Quebec even if he will not reside?
Question 2: Are there any opportunities for the potential client to apply under the Federal Skill Worker program? Can he still use the work experience from Quebec in support of this application? What kind of proof should he provide to be qualified under the FSW program and that he will not reside in Quebec in the future?
We will answer both questions together as there is really not much of a distinction with regards to whether this person reapplies for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program.
To start, it is worth noting that the requirement that a person must not intend to reside in Quebec applies to all of the programs administered under Express Entry. This includes the three federal programs FSW, CEC and Federal Skilled Trades, as well as all of the provincial streams administered under Express Entry.
Whenever we consult with a client about their permanent residence options and they are clear that they wish to settle in Quebec, we inform them right away that they will have to apply under one of the programs administered by that province. This is part of the agreement between Quebec and the Federal government, whereby they have exclusive jurisdiction over the selection of economic immigrants to the province.
While it is not clear from the first question posed by our reader whether the potential client intends to settle in Quebec or not, that is the fist question that needs to be asked. If the answer is that he intends to settle in Quebec, then there is no purpose in even examining the federal programs, as the client would not be eligible to immigrate under them. Stating a different intention with regards to where he plans to settle would constitute a misrepresentation.
If the client fully intends to settle outside of Quebec (at least originally), then he could be eligible to apply again under a federal permanent residence program administered under Express Entry. If that is the case, it would be worth asking some questions in order to fully understand the prior refusal of his CEC application. If he in fact intended to settle in Quebec, as the officer found, then he was rightly refused and in this second application he will need to satisfy the officer that his intention has changed. If he did not intend to originally settle in Quebec, but instead failed to satisfy the officer that he would be settling in a different province or territory, then it may be a matter of submitting an application with better documentation the second time around.
There is no reason for the client to choose between a CEC and FSW application in this case. The Quebec experience can be eligible for either program (subject to the program requirements) and the fact that it is gained in Quebec as opposed to another province makes no difference for either program. The important thing will be to declare the experience accurately in the application and see if the system qualifies him as eligible under either or both programs. If he is eligible under both programs, then Express Entry will automatically invite him under CEC, which has some advantages, such as not having to prove settlement funds.
The main issue will be to prove this second time around that the client has changed his mind about where he wants to settle (if he originally intended to settle in Quebec) or that he always intended to settle outside Quebec. Again, the approach should follow what the client’s real intention was in the past and not some strategic decision.
In order to strengthen the argument that the client will not be settling in Quebec, despite having studied and worked there, a number of documents could be provided. Below we provide some examples, but the overall idea is to prove ties to a province or territory other than Quebec and a plan to settle there. This evidence can include:
Visits or periods of residence in the place where the client intends to settle, which is outside Quebec;
Family ties, friends or colleagues who live in this province/territory outside Quebec;
Any work/study/volunteer experience outside Quebec (if applicable);
Job offers, job opportunities or a description of the job search strategy (whichever it may be) to be carried out by the applicant outside Quebec;
Property titles, lease agreements or results of property searches (whichever it may be) carried out by the applicant in the place he intends to settle;
A description of why the client has picked the place he has chosen to settle in and any evidence of the efforts undertaken to settle there.
The evidence will vary depending on how far in his settlement plans the client has gone. The fact that he is no longer living in Quebec is a positive fact, however, it is always important to provide this evidence for clients who have spent a significant time in the province of Quebec, particularly given the past refusal in this case. We normally would include a sworn statement from the client documenting their settlement plans and supporting documentation.
We have had a number of successful CEC applications from clients who were living and working in Quebec at the time of their Express entry application. However, we were always careful to document their settlement plan once the permanent residence application was approved, including their plans to quit their job in Quebec. If during processing the client had already relocated to a different province, we would provide an address update and supporting evidence.
Our advice to our reader would be to find out the intentions of the client and his settlement plans/efforts. If the client in fact plans to settle outside Quebec, then explain this and provide the supporting evidence. Whether the client is eligible to apply under CEC or FSW is not important in this case.
Andrew Carvajal is a Toronto lawyer, partner and Head of Economic Immigration at Desloges Law Group. He specializes in corporate immigration, temporary permits and all types of permanent residence applications for professionals and entrepreneurs.